Brennan Stephens had never competed on a bigger stage, but he stayed composed.
With a steady hand and pinpoint precision, the 15-year-old Rose Hill Christian student concluded the 10-meter portion of his round with 149 out of 150 possible points.
Stephens finished the NASP National Championships with a flourish, racking up another 143 points for a score of 292. He achieved a personal record and captured fifth place in the boys middle school division in the July tournament.
Stephens qualified for the Nashville event by advancing through the region, state and eastern national rounds.
An archer for nearly four years, Stephens said he practices just about every day from December-April — the usual high school season. Because of his success, those sessions reached into the summer this year.
The freshman-to-be sets up a practice area in his basement. Ten meters is much more conducive to the space than 15.
“I gotta rearrange my furniture,” Stephens said.
Stephens has been redecorating his bedroom, too, with all the hardware accumulation. He dominated seven local tournaments in which he took part prior to starting the trek to Nashville.
Stephens has participated in other sports, including baseball — his father, James, is Rose Hill’s baseball skipper —but he paired with archery like morning dew to grass.
“It’s just different than any other sport I’ve done,” Stephens said. “It requires a lot more concentration and it’s just my thing. … It’s not a forgiving sport, but I enjoy trying to master it.”
Said Stephens of the NASP championships at Bridgestone Arena, specifically: “It’s really cool to shoot against people from all over the country and represent my school.”
“He found something he enjoys and he just excels at it,” James Stephens said. “He’s worked his butt off for it and it’s amazing to watch.”
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